Fans of ndians will recall Fakhar Zaman. It was only his fourth ODI when he scored 114 against India at The Oval in 2017. That innings helped Pakistan win the ICC Champions Trophy and cemented the left-reputation hander’s as a rising talent. The batsman, who has a remarkable diversity of strokes and a high back lift, is very calculated in his answers. As he discusses the significance of that innings against India and the impending Pakistan Super League, he demonstrates his cricketing knowledge (PSL).
Zaman, 31, provides a young perspective to the crease. He almost duplicated his double century (210 not out) against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2018 when he hit a magnificent 193 against South Africa in Johannesburg in April this year. In the next match, he finished the tour with a 101. When he struck 94 and 66 against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2018, his Test debut was characterised by such consistency.
The setting is Abu Dhabi once more, as Zaman, a member of the Lahore Qalandars, leads the campaign to a successful conclusion. “Our quick bowlers will be supported by Abu Dhabi. We’re well-prepared and have a formidable team. In a discussion with Sportstar from the stadium prior of the PSL encounter versus Islamabad United, he said, “Our chances are good.”
“Every year, new players are added to the franchise cricket squad. For us, the Lahore Qalandars are like family. When I return, I will be able to use the Francise’s High Performance Centre. I’ll be able to stay there for the entire year. In fact, young players may spend the whole year learning cricket and preparing for the PSL. The Franchise takes good care of us and also works at the grassroots level.
The resumption of the PSL after it was interrupted in Pakistan due to a bio-bubble breach, in Zaman’s opinion, will be beneficial to the game in his nation. “It’s a huge relief that this is finally occurring. The PSL is something we look forward to all year. We talk about the tournament and who we think will win. We have a soft spot in our hearts for the PSL. We all know how difficult things have been, but we all hoped and prayed for the PSL to happen. We are now quite excited that it is about to begin.”
The PSL, as most players feel about the Indian Premier League (IPL), is no less essential for a Pakistani cricketer, according to Zaman. “It has a huge impact on our life. When the PSL was not in existence, I was playing domestic cricket, but the media attention was not as favourable as we would have liked. But after I started playing in the PSL, even though I didn’t have a really good season, I became rather well-known. It means a lot to newcomers who want to create an impression. The PSL is fantastic for young people.”
“The PSL helps the kids come into focus,” Zaman added. It is beneficial to them financially. Emerging players, particularly those under the age of 19, aspire to play in the PSL since it provides them with financial benefits. In the presence of the veteran players, they also get professional grooming. Because of the PSL, even coaches are in high demand. It’s fair to conclude that being a part of the PSL has benefited everyone engaged in cricket.”
The epidemic forced Zaman into a scenario where he had to constantly practise in order to stay relevant. “To be honest, matched sessions have been cut, but not nets sessions. We now have more time on our hands and can focus on nets and training. We’ve been practising more in Peshawar since we have more time to improve on our game and eliminate our flaws. We miss the international matches, but we haven’t let it affect our performance.”